UK sanctions 24 Iranian officials over violent crackdown on protests

LONDON, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Britain said on Monday it was sanctioning two dozen Iranian officials including a government minister over what it called a "violent repression of protests" sparked by the death of a 22-year-old woman in police custody.

The sanctions, coordinated with international partners, include Iranian Communications Minister Issa Zarepour as well as the chief of its cyber police, Vahid Mohammad Naser Majid, and a range of political and security officials, the British foreign office said in a statement.

"These sanctions target officials within the Iranian regime who are responsible for heinous human rights violations," Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said.

"Together with our partners, we have sent a clear message to the Iranian regime - the violent crackdown on protests must stop and freedom of expression must be respected."

Britain said Zarepour and Majid had been sanctioned for shutting down the internet in Iran, including disabling WhatsApp and Instagram as part of a wider clampdown on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

The sanctions include asset freezes and travel bans.

The protests in Iran, sparked by the Sept. 16 death of Mahsa Amini in morality police custody, mark one of the boldest challenges to the Islamic Republic since the 1979 revolution.

Hundreds of demonstrators have been killed in the unrest and several thousands more detained, according to the activist HRANA news agency.

The European Union was also due to impose more sanctions on Iran on Monday.

Reporting by Muvija M and Sachin Ravikumar, Editing by Kylie MacLellan

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